Pain Conditions

Can supplements help reduce joint pain?

A Answers (2)

  • AMarjorie Nolan Cohn, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Glucosamine Chondroitin can help reduce joint pain. The body naturally manufactures glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which promote joint health and support healthy joint movement. Glucosamine is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage while it is believed that chondroitin helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage. Glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish shells; chondroitin supplements are generally made from cow cartilage. Because binge eaters have an added risk of joint damage from carrying excess weight, glucosamine chondroitin can be taken to restore joint health and to prevent further damage.

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  • AScott Martin, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    Glucosamine is a substance normally found in both cartilage and synovial fluid, and chondroitin sulfate is one component of a protein that makes cartilage elastic which can help treat joint pain. It isn't clear how supplements of these nutrients might work, but some evidence suggests it reduces pain in some people with osteoarthritis. For example, a large study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin did not reduce pain effectively over all, but that the supplements did benefit a subgroup of patients with moderate to severe pain. Two earlier three-year studies in Europe found that people with knee osteoarthritis taking glucosamine had significantly less pain and narrowing of their joint space than those taking a placebo.
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